10 Frugal Travel Tips


We are big roller coaster fans, for those of you that don’t know. (And yes we are in the front seats, and yes there is no one else on the coaster because we ran.)

But I also know many people will be hitting the parks for a summer vacation. Where ever you are headed try some of these tricks and see if you can’t save a buck or two.

  1. When flying just a take carry on. I know everyone knows how the prices have jumped, but you can do it. Kids as young as 5 or 6 can pull their own suit case. Just give yourself more time and of course don’t over pack them.
  2. If traveling by car take advantage of any gas coupons in the Entertainment Book or the Kroger stores are offering 10ยข off a gallon of gas.
  3. If headed to a theme park never pay full price. Look around on pop cans, websites and even deals the companies offer themselves. Six Flags was offering a Buy One Day get a Season Free. This runs through June 5th.
  4. Another way to save at a theme park if they aren’t running the above mentioned deal is check on the season pass. Often times it’s cheaper to buy a season pass than 2 day passes. AND you will often times get coupon books and FREE parking.
  5. Buy 1 oz size sun tan lotion. These can go on the plane. Often times 8 of these will equal an 8 oz bottle for the exact same price. (provided you didn’t use a coupon) You don’t have to take to time to buy when you get to your location. You can bring the leftovers home as opposed to leaving it behind.
  6. When at amusement parks ask for cups of water. Most places give them out for free. All Cedar Fair parks and Six Flag Parks do this.
  7. They won’t give you water? Then buy from the vending machine. It will save you a few cents here and there because you won’t be paying tax.
  8. Take your own snacks into parks. You don’t need a ton and you don’t even have to pack a separate bag for them. Just make the boys wear cargo shorts and throw in enough to last until your meal.
  9. Use Hotwire to book your hotel. It’s a great resource and with a little effort you can figure out what hotel you are actually booking.
  10. I say this over and over, but watch Groupon or Living Social for the city you are headed to. See if they have any great deals on activities or food.

Looking for more ways to save on Theme Parks this Summer?ย  Here are some of the things I mentioned, plus more ideas.

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  1. Thanks for the tips! I’ve been doing Living Social in Pittsburgh where I live, but I hadn’t thought of looking there for deals in New York where we’re going on vacation.

    Another good feature of small bottles of sunscreen is that you’ll surely use them up this year. Sunscreen becomes less effective with time, but I find it hard to resist keeping a bottle until we use it up! My family is less prone to sunburn since we improved our diet, so we only use sunscreen when we’re really going to be outside for long periods in midday.

  2. Any child over the age of 4yrs can carry a small backpack with nutritious snacks and a small drink or two. That way you don’t end up carrying all the provisions for the family and each child feels responsible for himself. Try and include a few fun snacks too, even if they may be less than healthy to eat all the time.

    You’ll save a bunch of money by not buying from overpriced shops on location.

  3. I completely agree. We did that when I our kids were little and we hiked. They had one backpack between the 2 of them and took turns wearing it. That’s because they liked to have certain things once we got to the lake. Things I did not want to carry. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. My husband and I just got back from 10 days in Japan traveling with 2 carry-ons. We were also taking over a whole lot of gifts (blankets, clothing, etc.) for our new grandson. We borrowed a set of vacuum bags from a friend and were able to get everything in with room to spare! I went out and bought my own set – I won’t travel without them again. And it was wonderful not to have to worry about checked bags, even though they wouldn’t have cost us anything.

    One other tip for traveling with kids that has worked especially well for us is to give each child a set amount of money at the beginning of the trip, but with the rule that they are responsible and not allowed to ask mom or dad for *anything* (we take care of meals, snacks, admissions, etc.). This eliminates a lot of whining and begging, and helps kids make thoughtful decisions about how to spend their money. They can of course add their own savings if they want. We’ve done this with our kids on every vacation since they were 4, and other than a couple of quickly regretted impulse purchases they’ve done a really great job of managing their money; 3 out of 4 always come home with money, too!

  5. Oh yeah, I forgot about your trip. After reading your blog it sounds like you had quite and amazing time and fun adventure.

    Yes, vacuum bags are great. When we moved to Germany we used plenty of those to send our stuff over. Except we just used garbage bags and a vacuum cleaner.

    The spending money for kids is great. We have done that in the past. I like it because it takes a lot of pressure of you, as the parent. The kids make ALL the decisions.

    Thanks for sharing Laura!!